A National Public Radio Best Graphic Novel of the YearGood-Bye is the third in a series of collected short stories from Drawn & Quarterly by the legendary Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Drawn in 1971 and 1972, these stories expand the prolific artist’s vocabulary for characters contextualized by themes of depravity and disorientation in twentieth-century Japan.Some of the tales focus on the devastation the country felt directly as a result of World War II: a prostitute loses all hope when American GIs go home to their wives; a man devotes twenty years of his life to preserving the memory of those killed at Hiroshima, only to discover a horrible misconception at the heart of his tribute. Yet, while American influence does play a role in the disturbing and bizarre stories contained within this volume, it is hardly the overriding theme. A philanthropic foot fetishist, a rash-ridden retiree, and a lonely public onanist are but a few of the characters etching out darkly nuanced lives in the midst of isolated despair and fleeting pleasure.
“Prepare to be disturbed and blown away. The stuff is remarkable, amazing.”—Los Angeles Times“Tatsumi has been called the ‘grandfather of Japanese alternative comics,’ and this third collection of his stories shows why. Tatsumi takes on subjects as difficult as the legacy of Hiroshima, incest and the sexual humiliations of postwar Japanese soldiers, yet is never exploitative. Instead, the stories humanize all of the characters involved. Tatsumi excels at depicting honest human reactions to complex situations, and he refuses to rely on a single style of storytelling. The first story, ‘Hell,’ is a brief masterpiece. A freelance photojournalist snaps a picture of one of the infamous Hiroshima shadows—shadows of people burnt into the walls by the intensity of the atomic blast. The shadow appears to be a boy rubbing his mother's back, but years later, the photographer learns the awful truth behind the scene. By contrast, ‘Just a Man’ forgoes the O. Henry twist, instead telling a circular slice-of-life story about the quiet despair of a Japanese salaryman. ‘Rash,’ a brief story of a man afflicted with a psychosomatic skin condition, reads as if Haruki Murakami decided to try his hand at manga. Tatsumi's art is masterful: he switches art styles from cartoony manga to stark realism with ease and is equally adept at depicting graceful motion, grisly suffering and complicated emotion.”—Publishers Weekly